76ers

Mavericks 122, Sixers 102: Disappointment in Dallas as Sixers fail to pick up the slack without Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler

Mavericks 122, Sixers 102: Disappointment in Dallas as Sixers fail to pick up the slack without Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler

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No Joel Embiid (load management/left knee), no Jimmy Butler (back tightness), and a seemingly endless stretch where every shot you throw up clangs off the rim is not a good recipe for a win.

Without two of their stars, the Sixers fell to the Mavericks on Monday night, 122-102, dropping to 49-28 on the season. They’ll conclude their three-game road trip Wednesday night against the Hawks (7:30 p.m./NBCSP).

Here are observations from the loss: 

• Jonah Bolden started again in place of Embiid and he couldn’t build on his excellent performance against the Timberwolves. Bolden had two points, seven rebounds and an assist. He wasn’t great defensively either and was a team-worst minus-26.

The Sixers didn’t mind the matchup of Marjanovic, the NBA’s tallest player, against the second tallest — 7-foot-2 Salah Mejri. It was a rare instance in which the opposition couldn't regularly pull Marjanovic away from the rim and target him on defense. Marjanovic had five points and seven rebounds in 13 minutes.

• The Sixers hit a brutal cold spell of shooting in the second quarter, missing three after three during a span of over eight minutes without a field goal to wrap up the first half. Though they missed plenty of open looks, the Sixers also settled for a bunch of jumpers, straying from their early success with Ben Simmons in the post.

It didn’t help that their defense couldn’t string together stops or force a turnover. Rookie Shake Milton had an especially difficult time keeping his man in front of him. 

The Mavs won the second quarter, 41-18. 

• With Simmons guarded at times by 6-foot-3 Villanova product Jalen Brunson and 6-foot Trey Burke, we saw a good amount of “Explosion” — the Sixers’ largely improvisational off-ball movement around Simmons in the post.

Simmons made several impressive passes out of the post, including a bullet from the left block to JJ Redick for a three on the right wing in the first quarter.

He wasn’t as effective down low as a scorer. Though he did get to the line 11 times, making seven, Simmons missed several easy attempts near the rim and shot 5 for 15. 

• There was also a clear emphasis on getting Tobias Harris opportunities in the post early. As usual, Harris was at his best in the first quarter, with nine points on 4 for 6 shooting.

Harris had a strong third quarter at the point, running plenty of middle pick-and-rolls with Marjanovic. It’ll be interesting to see if Harris can develop the same sort of synergy with Embiid in the pick-and-roll once the Sixers’ All-Star center returns.

Harris finished with 25 points.

• Life is generally good for the Sixers when Redick is hitting shots.

He did that Monday night, scoring 21 points in the first half, 26 in the game. 

But nobody else could make a three-point shot — the rest of the team shot a combined 2 for 22 from long range. 

Coming in, the Sixers had been 10-2 this season when Redick scored 23 or more points. 

• Zhaire Smith checked in during the third quarter with the game slipping away, and fellow rookie Haywood Highsmith saw the floor in garbage time. Highsmith shot 1 for 3, scoring his first NBA points since his debut on Jan. 8. Smith, scoreless in nine minutes, displayed his athleticism with a chase-down block late in the fourth. 

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Sixers sign and then waive Shizz Alston Jr., Terry Harris for purpose of adding them to Delaware Blue Coats

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Sixers sign and then waive Shizz Alston Jr., Terry Harris for purpose of adding them to Delaware Blue Coats

Updated: 2:27 p.m.

The 2019-20 Delaware Blue Coats are shaping up to be a fascinating team.

The Sixers are signing and then waiving Terry Harris, Shizz Alston Jr., Julian Washburn, Jared Brownridge and Xavier Munford with the purpose of adding them to the Blue Coats. Harris' deal is an Exhibit 9 contract.

Terry Harris is the younger brother of Sixers forward Tobias Harris, whom the team re-signed to a five-year, $180 million contract this summer. Terry played for the Sixers this year in summer league and scored nine points in three games. The 6-foot-6 wing worked out with the Sixers in June and said "it would be a blessing" to play with Tobias for the first time since eighth grade. As a redshirt senior at North Carolina A&T, Terry averaged 8.1 points per game and shot 41.1 percent from three-point range. Outside shooting is his trademark skill.

Alston grew up in Philadelphia and attended The Haverford School before going to Temple, where he played for four years. The point guard had an excellent senior season, leading Temple to a 23-10 record and averaging 19.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. Like Harris, he had a pre-draft workout for the Sixers. Alston played with the Indiana Pacers in summer league and scored 24 points across three contests.

The 6-foot-8 Washburn has 136 career games of experience in the G League, including 38 last season between the Austin Spurs and Memphis Hustle. He signed a two-way contract with the Grizzlies in January and appeared in 18 NBA games last year, averaging 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds. Washburn was part of the trade between the Grizzlies and Warriors in July involving Andre Iguodala, and was later waived by Golden State.

Brownridge, who played his college ball at Santa Clara, played 49 games (27 starts) with the Blue Coats last season. He led the G-League in threes made with 187.

Munford spent last season with the Milwaukee Bucks G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. He's also played in China and Spain after his collegiate career at Rhode Island ended.

In addition to Washburn, Alston, Harris, Brownridge and Munford, 7-foot-3 Christ Koumadje, Saint Joseph's product Isaiah Miles and Haywood Highsmith are candidates for the Blue Coats this season. Those three players were part of the Sixers' preseason roster and will be waived (see story).

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Sixers waive Christ Koumadje, Haywood Highsmith and Isaiah Miles

Sixers waive Christ Koumadje, Haywood Highsmith and Isaiah Miles

Updated: 2:17 p.m.

The Sixers have waived Christ Koumadje, Isaiah Miles and Haywood Highsmith. Those moves leave the team with its regular-season roster of 15 players, with Marial Shayok and Norvel Pelle on two-way contracts.

Because Koumadje, Miles and Highsmith signed Exhibit 10 contracts this summer, they can be incentivized to join the Delaware Blue Coats. Under the terms of an Exhibit 10 deal, a player who is waived can receive a bonus of up to $50,000 if he signs with the team's G-League affiliate and stays there for at least 60 days. 

Koumadje played four years of college basketball at Florida State and stands 7-foot-3 without shoes. He’s seeking to become the first NBA player from the country of Chad. Senior vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said in June at a pre-draft workout featuring Koumadje that the big man is agile for his size, which Koumadje attributed to playing soccer and running before fully focusing on basketball.

Koumadje has been seen working on his game with 7-foot-2 player development specialist Roy Hibbert. He said at media day that the Sixers’ player development staff has been helping him develop some of the finer points of his offensive game, such as non-dunk finishes near the basket and ball handling.

A 6-foot-4 wing, Highsmith played in 46 games for the Blue Coats last season, averaging 12.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He also played in five games for the Sixers, with the team converting his contract to a two-way deal in January. Highsmith, who was waived by the team this summer to free up the two-way spot used on Pelle before signing his Exhibit 10 deal, played at Division II Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

Miles played his college basketball much closer to the Wells Fargo Center, at Saint Joseph’s, and is, like Highsmith, a native of Baltimore, Maryland. The 25-year-old was on the Sixers’ summer league teams in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and last played for Limoges CSP in France’s Pro-A league.

Based on what we saw in the preseason, below is a rough, projected depth chart by position. The backup point guard picture isn't yet clear, while several of the players at the shooting guard and small forward spots are interchangeable:

Point guard

Starter: Ben Simmons

Depth: Josh Richardson, Raul Neto/Trey Burke, Shake Milton

Shooting guard

Starter: Josh Richardson

Depth: Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, Zhaire Smith, Marial Shayok (Two-way player)

Small forward

Starter: Tobias Harris

Depth: James Ennis, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz

Power forward

Starter: Al Horford 

Depth: Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, Jonah Bolden 

Center

Starter: Joel Embiid

Depth: Al Horford, Kyle O’Quinn, Jonah Bolden, Ben Simmons, Mike Scott, Norvel Pelle (Two-way player) 

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